KLUEVER SETS SIGHTS ON CONCORD by Jeremy Troiano & Bob Dillner
Sophomore Hopes To Have The Upper-Hand
As one of the toughest tracks on the ASA schedule, Concord Motorsport Park seems to attract a lot of attention from the drivers. The demanding track, which is billed as the "World's Fastest Half-Mile Tri-Oval," has witnessed a bunch of ASA testing time lately. You see, Concord isn't your typical half-mile; it is a high-banked tri-oval with three distinctly different corners. Lap times hover around the 16-to-17-second bracket. The backstretch "dogleg" challenges drivers to hold the throttle wide open to achieve that fast lap.
Second-year driver Todd Kluever spent Wednesday testing at Concord in preparation for ASA's third race of the year (April 19th). It was Kluever's first taste of the track, as will be the case with many of today's ASA competitors when they arrive at the track. ASA has only races at Concord only once, in 2001.
"It's a different animal," said Kluever. "It takes a lot of getting used to. The backstretch is kind of hairy. You have to convince yourself to put in on the floor and hold it until you get to the other end of the racetrack.
Todd Kluever was at Concord on Wednesday.
"That dogleg (on the backstretch) isn't like a gradual turn you would see on a front-stretch at some other tracks. It's just like a whole other corner. It's a little intimidating. After a couple of laps, you get used to it though, just like any place."
Concord isn't the best of places to come and test with no information on the track because the racing groove is different than most places. In fact, if you're just a tick off, you may not make the field and Kluever knows that.
"I talked to David (Stremme) about this place," commented Kluever. "I talked to Howie (Lettow, Ryan Hemphill's crew chief) about it even more. He told me a line to get around this place. He told me the times to shoot for. I also talked with Robbie (Pyle) at Lakeland about it."
Pyle won the pole for the Concord race in 2001.
"I also went to the office and the guy there showed me the tape from the ASA race here a couple years ago. I watched about 20 - 30 - 40 laps or so. They had some in-car cameras, so I could see the line. They had one on Kevin Cywinski's car when he was following Johnny (Sauter), so I could see both of their lines.
"I know what David ran and Ryan (Hemphill) ran when there were here (a couple weeks ago). We are not as fast as we want to be, but we are not that bad.
"I know a lot of people are going to struggle when they
get here. Just to have a day where I can get used to the track is helping. If you were to just come here and you pull in, you'd spend the entire practice session just learning the place. I have the upper-hand now (over the guys who have never seen the track."
Kluever had a great run ruined in the season-opener in Lakeland, FL on Saturday by a couple cars who bounced off each other right in front of him. He had gone from last (after he pitted on the pace lap) to tenth before the wreck happened.
And by the way, we love the numbers on the Sign 1-1, Marshall Metals, Badger Music #55. With them, Kluever's car may be one of the best looking in the field.